History & Heritage
We’re blessed with whisky heritage going back centuries in these parts, but that’s not the only history in Moray Speyside. If you want to take a trip back in time, there’s plenty of historical sites to visit along The Malt Whisky Trail.
The Picts lived in northern and eastern Scotland in the late Iron Age to Early Medieval period. Moray Speyside was once part of the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu. Today you can still see some of their remains in the local area.
Sueno’s Stone, near Benromach, is the tallest carved stone monument in Scotland from the Pictish period, a 7m tall cross covered in ornate carvings.
The town of Burghead was once the location of a great Pictish fort, and whilst little of it remains today, town planners in the early 19th century did discover the Burghead Well – a mysterious underground chamber thought to date back to when Picts ruled the land.
Meet the real Macbeth
The Malt Whisky Trail is home to one of the first towns mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth – the historic town of Forres at the top of The Trail. Here there are the remains of a large hill-fort on Cluny Hill in Grant Park, widely thought to be one of the real King Macbeth’s fortifications. Sueno’s Stone would have stood here when Macbeth ruled Moray. Perhaps Macbeth and his war band gathered at this point before going to Pitgaveny to confront King Duncan…
Elgin Cathedral was the seat of the bishops of Moray until the Protestant Reformation of 1560 and was once known as the ‘Lantern of the North’. Although today it is a ruin, it still contains some of the finest surviving 13th century architecture in Scotland, and other special features such as a rare image of Pictish falconry on the Pictish cross, a life-sized stone bishop and the tallest gravestone in Scotland (5m high!).
Spynie Palace, nearby, was the official residence of the bishops of Moray and is the largest surviving bishops’ house in Scotland.
Brodie Castle was home to the chief of Clan Brodie for hundreds of years. Housing important artworks and an impressive library of over 6,000 books, its rose-coloured turrets sit amongst beautiful grounds – home to the National Daffodil Collection
If you’d prefer a ruined, medieval castle then visit Duffus Castle, once one of the strongest holds in Scotland, near Glen Moray distillery, or the striking Balvenie Castle, near Strathisla, home to the Earls of Buchan.